Borat Visits Newton, MA, and Delights a Pair of Shape-Shifting Jews

There’s a great article in the Globe today about a segment of the Borat movie where he visits a B&B, later discovered to be run by a Jewish couple, Joe and Miriam Behar. I’ll avoid going into details on the movie to spare those who haven’t seen it yet, but imagine Borat’s usual antics in a home decorated with Jewish culture-inspired paintings — done by Miriam herself — complete with pastrami sandwiches and yamulkes.

The couple didn’t suspect that their guest was more than a poor Kazakh television reporter, except some doubts about his dreams of going to Malibu to marry a girl: Joe found it hard to believe a Malibu girl would want to marry Borat.

“My biggest fear is they were making a porn movie or something”, says Joe, … “The director said I was a good actor.”

Despite feeling a little misled by Sasha Baron Cohen’s production crew, who told them it was a documentary that wouldn’t be shown in the US, and slighted by the amount Cohen’s team were compensating their unknowing actors, the couple enjoyed the experience. Indeed, Joe’s first-hand screening of Cohen’s work turned him into a fan.

“He’s a mastor actor. He puts people in a mental environment where they can’t think straight. No director can teach you that.”

Somehow I don’t think the frat boys and Romanian gypsies (yes, the extras in Borat’s “hometown” were gypsies) share the sentiment.


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